Friday, October 29, 2004

Degrees of Lactation

I'm taking a class that centers on maternal and child health; we've started the course with reproductive health and moved through pregnancy, postpartum, neonatal, infant and children's issues.

Yesterday, we had the breastfeeding lecture. Iman always uses power point (can anyone just lecture anymore???) and the first slide was a woman's naked breast, full frontal. It was sort of shocking, even for me who gripes about the breast being oversexualized in American society (did you know the number one reason given for not breastfeeding is "My partner won't like it"? Makes me so angry--grow the fuck up, men!). The next slide was a side view, where someone had drawn on the breast with a sharpie showing where the milk ducts, etc. are inside the breast.

So the lecture proceeded, mostly about the mechanics and social aspects of breastfeeding. We talked about positions, benefits and policy. Many of the women in the room have had children, so there was a lot of...sharing. For example, I know now that if you have cracked nipples, the best thing to do is rub breastmilk into them.

When I left the class, I wanted a baby. Really wanted a baby. Seeing those pictures of tiny babies rooting around for breastmilk stirred something inside me. My breasts suddenly seemed so...useless. They are just sexual objects right now. The thought of holding a soft baby against my skin, doing something as natural as breastfeeding suddenly because very appealing. I know I'm definitely not ready for baby (definitely not), but for the first time, the thought of a baby didn't send panic shivers down my spine...has the ticking begun? Or is the prospect of having a baby just more appealing than finishing graduate school?

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